Fire safety in Alameda
Structure fires account for over 300 of the Alameda County Fire Department’s service calls every year. While no one ever believes disaster will strike them, the best time to prepare for an emergency is before it occurs. House fires cost over 73 billion dollars’ worth of damage each year in the US, and take over 3,000 lives. Protect your family and your home. Planning ahead can mean the difference between life and death.
The first and most important thing to know about fire is, it’s fast. Most people severely underestimate how quickly fire can spread. A lit cigarette, left unattended, can ignite a chair or sofa in under a minute. Within two minutes, the room is engulfed. Within five, the fire can spread to other areas of the home. There is no time for gathering belongings in a fire. There is no time to make a phone call. If you can’t put the fire out immediately with an extinguisher, get out and get help.
Education about what to do in case of a fire is the first step in preparing your family. Having the proper equipment on hand can allow minor fires to be put out before they can get out of control. Fire extinguishers should be kept charged and ready, especially in the kitchen, where most house fires occur.
Smoke detectors can increase chances of survival by over 30%. Detectors should be placed outside every bedroom, and batteries should be checked regularly. Many homeowners change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks to Daylight Savings Time. Changing the batteries twice a year helps ensure the smoke detectors will be working if they’re ever needed.
Prepare children for the possibility of fire by creating escape routes and practicing “what if” scenarios. Create a family meeting place, well away from the house, where all family members should gather in case of an emergency. Having a safe route out of the home and knowing what to do in case of an emergency can give kids a sense of safety and make them less likely to panic.
The Alameda Fire Department has several trainings and Personal Emergency Preparedness training to help Alameda families be better prepared for the possibility of an emergency. Prevention and mitigation strategies are taught, as well as what to do during an actual fire emergency. Knowing what to do in case of emergency isn’t just smart. It can save your life.